Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gail Collins and the New York Times can't have it both ways

I don't usually blog on Wednesday nights because it's a church night and Elaine's kind enough to grab the night for me by blogging at Like Maria Said Paz. (Thank you, Elaine.) But I wanted my last post about the racism of the New York Times' editorial board and Gail Collins up until the day after Coretta Scott King's funeral. I didn't think they'd bother to note her the day after since they've kept their White lips sealed all this time.

If you read C.I.'s "The New York Times and the Coretta Scott King coverage (not a pretty picture)" you know they didn't have a thing to say about her on their editorial pages today. If you read C.I.'s "The New York Times and the Coretta Scott King coverage (not a pretty picture)" and "Democracy Now: Priest Gerad Jean Juste, tributes to Coretta Scott King; Robert Parry, CCR ..." you know that they not only mocked Reverend Joseph Lowery but they took his joke and gave old Poppy Bush credit for it. Imagine that, an African-American does something and a White guy gets the credit for it. Didn't we all think we'd moved past those days?

Well not at the New WHITE Times apparently. Gail Collins can blather on about her friend who passed away and how, busy career gals, they had to schedule time to meet up. Rush, rush, rush.
How very Sex in the City, we're supposed to think. But the thing was the women on that show made time for their friends (even if they worked a "few blocks" away or whatever Collins whined in her supposed editorial on her friend that read "Look how busy I am! I am busy! I am important!"). You also knew that Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha, Miranda and the other one had a life. Get the feeling "I'm Busy!" Gail Collins has a life?

I think she's too busy being "important" to have a life. So I'll say she fell into a racist trap and wasn't herself racist. I'll give her that much credit. She's "Busy!" so she didn't stop to think, "Coretta Scott King might actually mean something to people, might actually be worth noting and editorializing on." But when you are "Busy!" it can be real hard to see anything that's not in your own world. So Gail Collins couldn't see how important Coretta Scott King was because in the "I'm Busy!" world, there's not time to think. There's no time to talk about things that really matter when you're so "Busy!" and trying to convince yourself that you have a life even if you have to pretend like your a character on Sex in the City to do that.

While Collins was so "Busy!" celebrating herself and how "Busy!" she is, she missed the fact that a historic figure died. She missed the fact that she, Collins, wrote a dopey book (on an important topic) about how women deserve a place in history. She was so "Busy!" that she didn't realize that here was a woman, Coretta Scott King, that had a place in history and that if her dopey book meant anything to her, which I assume it did, here was a chance for her to put her money where her is mouth is.

So I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she herself isn't racist, she just fell into a racist trap because she was so "Busy!"

If that's not the case, then there are two more options.

One, she's racist.

Two, she's a first ("First woman to be the editor of the editorial page! I'm busy!") so she's scared to rock the boat. She's scared to actually use the power of her position. And all the other saps on the editorial board reflected years of conditioning from the paper that spit on MLK when he was alive. She didn't want to go out on limb.

Regardless of which of the three it is is, and it may be something else completely, by not covering Coretta Scott King's passing with an editorial or op-ed (not one that mentioned her, one that was about her), Gail Collins made herself the biggest huckster in the world. She wants to write about women in her books, about how they are important. But when it was time to put her money where her mouth was, she had nothing to say. That's pretty sad if you ask me. Gail Collins is pretty sad if you ask me.

So maybe the next time she writes (badly writes) another book about how women have a place in history, an interviewer can ask her, "If you really believe that, why did you fail to note Coretta Scott King when she passed away?" She can't have it both ways.





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